Journal Article

Emotional Significance and Predation’s Uneasy Conscience in John of Salisbury and Chrétien’s <i>Perceval</i>

Donald R. Wehrs

in Literature and Theology

Volume 28, issue 3, pages 284-298
Published in print September 2014 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online July 2014 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/fru021
Emotional Significance and Predation’s Uneasy Conscience in John of Salisbury and Chrétien’s Perceval

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In John of Salisbury’s 1159 Policraticus, as in Patrick Colm Hogan’s cognitive and Julia Kristeva’s psychoanalytic literary criticism, bodily vulnerability anchors human perception of significance, and so emotional life, in the pursuit of one’s own flourishing—and that of one’s in-group’s success. But in both cognitive and psychoanalytic accounts, and in John, oral-aggressive predatory dispositions and value systems are subject to constant disruption by non-egocentric modes of registering significance. Read through Hogan and Kristeva, John’s combined emotion theory and political theory illuminate how Chrétien’s 1180s Perceval links the politics of predatory self-advancement to forms of psychic entrapment that only dispositional and political respect for sociality and pluralism might undo.

Journal Article.  6952 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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